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97 Random Thoughts About Life, Love & Relationships

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97 Random Thoughts About Life, Love & Relationships
by Justin Lookadoo

Reviewed by Carol Kurtz

"...there are no boring pages. None. ... 97 is a countdown to teenage wisdom."

Justin Lookadoo has been busy since writing his 2003 hit Dateable (into it’s 13th printing). He’s qualified to write for Christian teens, not because he’s a former juvenile probation officer and crime and drug prevention specialist. It’s that he knows teens and speaks their language. 97: Random Thoughts About Life, Love & Relationships inspires teens to “live with no regrets” in an often confusing and tempting world.

Each one of the 97 entries is different. Written in Justin’s hip, conversational tone, it’s got an edgy feel, certainly not a preachy one. His “loud-mouthed, skydiving, WEIGHT-LIFTING wife” brings to many of the pages a feminine point of reference. 97 covers the expected teenage topics but in a brand new way. For example, building self esteem is tackled with entries like “Hot or Not”, a unique opener for dealing with the problems of comparing ourselves to others. And when has a Christian devotional ever held up the musk ox as a spiritual role model for guys?

Relationships are huge in every teen’s life, and “Anatomy of the Parental Brain” and “Relationship Flossing” are only a few to come at the issue from a unique angle. The Lookadoos address their readers with respect, in no way patronizing or lecturing. A Scripture or Scriptural theme is presented with each topic subtly and seamlessly, sometimes just barely mentioned or woven into the graphics of the page.

Justin is inspiring. He wants us to ask ourselves “is it holy?” when we make decisions, and he deals practically with crushes and friendships and staying in groups to avoid temptations. You can’t get more practical than “Deodorant and Soap”, an aptly titled treatise on “heavenly hygiene”. Taken as a whole, we’re inspired to live like real Christians, to “...step up. Make a difference. Reach out. Go see your grandparents. Give a dollar to the dude. Don’t let anything get in your way of doing what needs to be done.”

It was disturbing to read about the girl who gave away her beloved puppy because she heard on the radio that a very sick guy really wished he had a little Chihuahua. A gripping story of love and sacrifice, the idea seemed extreme. She could have easily gone out and rescued another dog for this guy. But the fact that I could not forget this story, for whatever reason, speaks to the stark intensity of many of the entries.

With exercises like tracing your own handprint right in the book or timing out 8 seconds on a clock, there are no boring pages. None. The entries are numbered like a countdown, with a table of contents that indexes the titles. Not a daily devotional, it’s more of a countdown to teenage wisdom.

Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.